8 simple steps to create a beautiful Salon Wall - Tips, tricks and step by step instructions

  • By Jacqui Thomas

8 simple steps to create a beautiful Salon Wall - Tips, tricks and step by step instructions

Have you ever thought of creating a salon wall in your home?
While some artworks need to stand alone and deserve a whole wall to themselves, others work really well in the good company of a crowd.

First a little History of the Salon Wall

The terms Salon Style and Salon Wall date back to 17th Century Paris when the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture held its first public art exhibition at the Salon Carré. The purpose of the exhibition was to show the work of graduates of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the paintings were hung wall to wall and floor to ceiling using every available inch of wall space to exhibit as many works as possible. 
The influence of the Salon was undisputed and inclusion in this annual (and later bi-annual) event was essential for any artist to succeed in France over the next 200 years.

The Modern Salon Wall

Fast forward to The 21st century and the salon wall also know as a gallery wall is hugely popular as a great way to collate a number of pieces and enhance a large or awkward wall space.
While the charm of a salon wall can be in its imperfections, there are some basic rules and tricks to ensure a successful Salon style hanging.

Let's create your Salon Wall

There are a number of methods to easily achieving a beautiful and professional looking Salon Wall. This one is my preferred ...


Step 1. Let the fun begin - Choose your art 

Decide whether you want your wall to feature artworks of a particular theme, colour palette, medium or subject matter - Perhaps all black and white photographs or portrait paintings. 

Alternatively you may prefer to feature an eclectic collection of pieces that you already own or that have real meaning to you. Like a mini museum inside your own home it might include some family photos, personal artefacts and momentos or even objects like a mirror or a street sign. They do not need to have anything in common but each piece should be special.

To make the composition more appealing to the eye, try matching the colour and rhythm of your artwork with other objects in the room, such as your floor rug, lamp or couch.

Here are 3 examples...

A selection of unframed original art on canvas and paper with a blue theme from Hatch-d

A selection of unframed portraits on canvas and timber from Hatch-d

A eclectic collection of framed and unframed original art on canvas, paper and timber from Hatch-d


STEP 2. The technical bit - Measure your wall

Once you've measured your wall clear a space of the same size on the floor or a table so that you can layout your pieces as you intend to hang them. 


STEP 3. Create your template

Remember, you are going to transfer your arrangement from the floor onto your wall, so tape together large pieces of butchers paper or newspaper and lay them on the floor before your arrange your art. 


STEP 4. Arrange your art 

This is the really creative bit and lots of fun too. You’ll probably find yourself moving pieces about quite a bit until you feel really comfortable with the arrangement.
The composition should look balanced but interesting, so try not to cluster all the framed works together or put all the red ones in the middle for example.  Mix them around to create interest.
While the are no rules to creating a salon wall and part of their charm can be their imperfections, salon walls generally work better with the larger pieces to the centre and a reasonably consistent space between the pieces will work best - around 5 - 15cm is a great general rule.
You can follow a grid or place your artworks at random, but have fun. Move things around until you get that magical feeling that things are just right.


STEP 5. Record your layout

Before you lift your artworks off the paper, stand on a chair or ladder and take a photograph of the arrangement as reference for when you are hanging.


STEP 6. Trace around each piece

Now is a great time to also mark the position the hook for each artwork. 


STEP 7. From floor to wall

Transfer your blueprint to the wall. You can hammer your picture hooks into the wall through the paper using your hook position marks as a guide.

Remember the 1450 rule and keep the centre of the arrangement 1450mm from the floor.

For more on this and before you hang any artwork please watch "The Art of Hanging Art" for me great instruction and tips on successfully hanging artwork. 


STEP 8. Hang your Art


Here are 5 examples of Salon Walls to inspire you

Left from Linda Holt Interiors.  Right from Southern Hospitality Blog.

Above image from Houzz

Left: Sandra Powell and Andrew King’s Banksy wall (image from The Design Files), Right: Image from olofjakobina










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